When I was in elementary school, way back in the Medieval period of human history when the only texting we did was with a book, we used to write Valentine's cards for every kid in class. We made a Valentine box and put our name on it. When the time came, we all took our cards and placed them in everyone's boxes.
When we got home we would open the cards and read all the notes of love, plus other notes that were not loving, or notes that contained obscure messages that needed to be decoded. That, for me, was a long time ago.
This past week Linda and went out for dinner and exchanged love-cards. We spoke words of love to each other. As we do this, we often think of how hard Valentine's Day is for some people we know. Like people with struggling marriages where love does not exist, and where no cards with loving words will be exchanged. Like people who long to find someone to spend their life with, but as of yet no one is there. Like some Jesus-followers who "missionary date"; i.e., they fall in love with some non-Jesus-follower in hopes of leading them to Jesus, all out of their own need for love. Most of these situations end in disaster. In the search for love, to love and be loved, many people settle for less than love, or non-love.
For the Jesus-follower stuck in a divided-Kingdom marriage, their moral stand against divorce makes them feel condemned to the painful situation. Make no mistake: it's far, far better to be unmarried and passionate about Jesus, then to be passionate about Jesus and married to someone who doesn't feel the same. In fact, if you are reading this and are not married, rejoice that you have not settled for a divided-Kingdom marriage!
What about love? To love, and to be loved? Here is the good news. Real, deep love is there for the taking. God, the author and source of love, loves you. And desires to be loved back by you.
The Father loves you! It's the Father's love that is the substantial reality behind all the worldly imitations and desires. No significant other can come close to this. God, the Maker of your soul, is the one true Soul Mate.
I am so thankful I experienced this Great Love in my first year as a Jesus-follower. I chose to take a year off from relationships with the opposite sex for the sake of knowing God. That year of loving God, and being-loved by God, shaped all the relationships I was to have in the future.
If any marriage is excellent it is because both the husband and wife love, in the first place, God. No marriage can give what only God can give.
The person who says to someone, "I cannot live without you," puts too much weight on that person. Beware of someone who believes this, since they don't have a life outside of you.
I don't mean to be insensitive here. If something were to happen to Linda I'll need my friends to scrape me off the floor, and speak into my life. Yet both Linda and I loved God first before we loved each other.
That still strikes me as the healthiest way to enter into a marriage. Neither of us can live without the Father's love. Two Christians in a marriage, minus the Father's love, equals disaster.
It is significant that, in eternity, there will be no marriages. Love, however, will be there, and it will be unlike anything we could have imagined. Therefore, it is not necessary to be married to experience real love. Being married is not God's solution to the love problem. Heaven will be, centrally, a being-loved-and-loving affair with our Creator and Savior. Apply Christian Trinitarian theism to this and it gets exciting. We will dwell with the Three-Personed God, forever.
Accept this Valentine from the heart of your Maker, to you:
"_________, I love you!"